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Facemaskgate: BA isn’t sure which countries require one, so until they work it out ….

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The British Airways face mask saga continues, and if anything it gets weirder.

On Monday, British Airways announced that face masks would not be required from Wednesday except where required by law.

Just before the policy was about to go live, British Airways withdrew their guidance. Crew were told to ensure that mask wearing continued and all references to the new policy were withdrawn from ba.com – although they remained prominent on social media.

British Airways face mask policy

During Thursday, British Airways published a new policy on ba.com:

“The legal requirement to wear a face covering has now been removed in England and Wales and we have updated our face mask policy.

Customers are no longer required to wear a mask at some airports in England.

However, as an international airline flying all around the world, we are obliged to ensure our customers continue to comply with local restrictions and meet the requirements of the destination they arrive at.

Therefore, we ask you to check the requirements of the destination you’re flying to before departing for the airport, as:

  • If you are travelling on our flights, you will be required to wear a mask on board if the destination you are flying to or from requires you to
  • If you are travelling on our flights, you will be required to wear a mask to disembark the aircraft, and at your arrival airport, if the destination you are flying to requires it

Where we are unsure or have not been able to clarify the local restrictions, we will still require you to wear face coverings, and we ask that you continue to carry masks with you for the duration of your journey.

For destinations where we have established that the wearing of a face covering is not mandated, you are able to make a personal choice and we kindly request everyone respects each other’s preferences.”

It sounds odd, but it seems that British Airways is unable to find out which countries require a face mask and which don’t. Where there is no certainty, a mask will still be required.

This makes some sense, of course. Regulation is a difficult and complex area.

What doesn’t make sense ….

What doesn’t make sense is that we have reports of, for example, passengers being told to wear masks on Heathrow to Manchester domestic services and others being told that the mask requirement will not be decided until after boarding.

It also isn’t clear why BA isn’t willing to publish a list of destinations where it is requiring masks.

Meanwhile, a BA CityFlyer employee working out of London City Airport posted on Flyertalk on Thursday afternoon that:

“Latest crew guidance is that masks are not required for domestic flights within England and Northern Ireland, and to/from Ireland. Still required for other destinations, in both directions.

I get a feeling that this saga will continue until at least 18th April, which is the date at which the US is expected to remove the mask requirement for airline passengers.


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Comments (63)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • HP says:

    No masks required LHR-BRU yesterday but enforced mask-wearing for the return today…

  • Berni says:

    The article is incorrect. BA policy has moved on – by recent experience.
    Definitely worth a correction – if you can get one from BA

    • Rob says:

      We have multiple data points today. There seems to be no logic, eg no masks flying to Brussels but masks required coming back.

  • Holmes says:

    Another DP – masks required on the flight to Accra and handed out as passengers boarded for those that didn’t have them. Cabin Crew at pains to tell people to ignore gov.uk

  • GrevMan says:

    No masks flying ARN-LHR this morning.

  • Jacob says:

    Another data point. LHR-CDG yesterday, mask required onboard. Funnily enough, at the point we stepped out of the plane, the airport staff were telling everyone no masks required. Today back CDG-LHR, masks required on board – gently enforcing it and kept reminding people before and on arrival to have masks ready for disembarkation (to Heathrow where they’re no required)… Total mess, or feels like they just err on the side of caution 🤷‍♂️ annoying regardless…

  • Tom says:

    Just flew to London on BA104 from Dubai. One announcement at the start to tell people to wear masks. Two cabin crew overheard discussing the case of a passenger who showed them a screenshot of the BA website taken earlier this week allegedly stating masks not required. No more announcements made. Mask wearing seemed to be at about 80% from what I could see in my area of the cabin.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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